In scathing attack on Republicans, UN Ambassador Susan Rice today withdrew from consideration to be Secretary of State, informing President Obama of her decision in a letter laced with criticism of those who raised questions about her actions with respect to Benghazi and her tenure working for President Clinton.
Rice accused Republicans of launching a political attack against her, though she left unclear what would motivate such an attack. Obama’s allies have implied Republicans are questioning her out of misogyny and racism.
Rice adorned her comments to Obama with sanctimonious contentions that she was withdrawing to spare the country and the president the distraction of the political show trial she thinks her confirmation process would become. However, it would be unusual for someone to withdraw from consideration for such a post unless they got a request or an unmistakable hint from the White House.
Ironically, many Republicans were concerned that it was Rice herself who was politicizing foreign policy by jumping at the chance to appear on five Sunday talk shows to tout already suspect evidence that the September 11 Benghazi consulate attack resulted from an anti-Islamic video. The actual explanation – that the assault was a coordinated terrorist operation conducted by al Qaeda affiliates – undermined Obama’s campaign argument that he had largely vanquished al Qaeda.
Here is an excerpt from her letter to the president:
If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. It is far more important that we devote precious legislative hours and energy to enacting your core goals, including comprehensive immigration reform, balanced deficit reduction, job creation, and maintaining a robust national defense and effective U.S. global leadership. Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.
The position of Secretary of State should never be politicized. As someone who grew up in the era of comparative bipartisanship and as a sitting U.S. national security official who has served in two U.S. administrations, I am saddened that we have reached this point. We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.
And here’s Rice appearing on the Obama-friendly NBC News, to which she gave the news that she was giving up.
Sen. John Kerry, who is now considered the leading candidate for the job, was spotted this evening in his Senate office doing back handsprings, a remarkable feat for a 69 year old.
Okay, actually he released a statement calling Rice “an extraordinarily capable and dedicated public servant” and blah blah blah blah.
Rice will stay on as UN Ambassador.